One item I have been looking for over the last few years has been a pair of South African Defence Force boots in a size that would fit me. Thanks to the help of a fellow collector I now have a set and it has allowed me to upgrade my SADF impressions by finally ditching the incorrect black British Army boots I have been using up to now in favour of the correct pattern. South Africa used a variety of different patterns of boot over the decades, and they can be found in a range of different shades of brown leather. This pair seem fairly typical however and probably date form the 1970s or early 1980s- later patterns having a much thicker moulded sole:
The boots are a dark brown in colour and have eyelets for lacing up the entire front of the boot, the pattern being what would be referred to as a ‘hi-leg’ combat boot by the British:
The lacing in these boots is currently incorrect and I need to re-lace them in a ladder pattern, a variation of which is shown in this diagram from an SADF training manual:
This pattern of lacing makes it very easy to remove the boots of an injured soldier by quickly cutting up the length of the laces in one pass with a knife. Typically (an much simpler than the example in the diagram), the lace has a small knot fitted and is threaded into the bottom eyelet of one side of the boots, it goes across the boot to the matching eyelet, then up one row and back across, the pattern being repeated up the length of the boot. The boots have black rubber soles, attached to the uppers with distinctive stitching that passes throughout the entire depth of the boot:
The backstay of the boot is reinforced by a double thickness of leather and runs the entire height of the boot to reduce damage and provide support to the wearer when out in the bush:
Boots were an essential item when on patrol, but odd mishaps could occur. One SADF soldier rested his boots too close to the fire one night and the rubber soles melted slightly. He stepped into the boots, tied them up and walked off. At this point the uppers came away with his feet, leaving the soles melted to the ground- quite how he explained that one to his storeman is not clear!